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  Directed by
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  Specs
  • Full Frame
  Languages
  • English: Dolby Digital 2.0 Mono
  Subtitles
  • None
  Extras
  • Teaser trailer
  • 3 Audio commentary
  • Cast/crew biographies
  • 7 Interviews
  • 4 Awards/Nominations
  • Interactive film trivia
  • Short film

The Dick Van Dyke Show - Season Two

Warner Vision/Warner Vision . R4 . B&W . 825 mins . G . NTSC

  Feature
Contract

Back in 1961, The Dick Van Dyke Show became an instant smash success on American television, and the second season, in 1962-63, gave us a show even stronger in all departments - acting, writing and directing.

This five-disc set presents all 33 episodes of Season Two. Presented en-masse like this, the episodes have to be carefully rationed to prevent them becoming repetitive. But in their original ration of 30 minutes a week, it's easy to see why The Dick Van Dyke Show set sitcom standards unmatched 'til only recently, when along came Seinfeld.

There's not a weakness in the cast. Here is the same gang again, with Dick Van Dyke as Rob Petrie and Mary Tyler Moore as his wife Laura. In this season, a bit more space is given to their son, played by Larry Mathews, and to their neighbours, played by Ann Morgan Gilbert and Jerry Paris. Jerry went on to become one of the key Dick Van Dyke Show directors.

And back at the office, Rose Marie's Sally and Morey Amsterdam's Buddy continued their scriptwriting chores, with the occasional but always welcome presence of their so-called 'superior', Richard Deacon - best remembered as the irascible neighbour in another classic sitcom, Leave it to Beaver.

As with the first set, this DVD package has been compiled with love. The quality and range of the extras is exceptional for a package of this vintage. The show is the key, but the extras add a little bit of knowledge and a great deal of warmth and fun.

Both Season One and Two sets deserve to do well in the marketplace. This is a quality presentation, commemorating what was an outstanding achievement in its time by the show's creator and key writer, Carl Reiner.

As director John Rich noted when receiving an Emmy for the show, Carl was "an authentic genius". That's so much better than the counterfeit kind - and there's nothing counterfeit about The Dick Van Dyke Show.

  Video
Contract

The quality seen in the DVD presentation of Season One continues with this second set.

There has obviously been a huge effort to find the best possible elements for this DVD presentation. The black and white image is perfect vintage television. It doesn't come better than this. I don't think we ever saw this show presented in better quality. It's not the highest film quality, of course, but for presentation of archival television material this set deserves an award all its own.

  Audio
Contract

Sound is occasionally muffled in some of the archival footage used in the extras. But the episodes themselves are presented in exceptionally clear, genuine monophonic sound.

There is no distortion present; everything is clear and distinct, to allow maximum appreciation of these great old scripts.

  Extras
Contract

Season Two emulates the Season One package in giving us a huge swag of extra features.

We kick off on Disc One with an audio commentary from Carl Reiner and Dick Van Dyke for the episode My Husband is Not Drunk. Then there is the Ottoman Tripper quiz - your knowledge of the series might save Dick from a nasty fall.

Then there is a 'Meet the Cast' video in which they remember how the Ottoman opening for the show evolved, until across the nation bets would be made on whether Dick Van Dyke would open the show by successfully circumnavigating the pouffe placed in the middle of his living-room, or would sprawl all over it.

The text Meet the Cast files give us biogs of Dick, Mary, Rose Marie and Morey, along with Richard Deacon, Ann Morgan Guilbert, Jerry Paris, Larry Mathews, Carl Reiner and Bill Idelson.

Then Mary Tyler Moore pops up on video to reminisce about cast member Jerry Paris scrawling his lines inside props for the show, and the third video grab for this disc gives us Dick and Mary remembering how they developed their characters - and developed their own feelings for each other.

Then we see Carol Burnett award the 1962-63 Emmy Award for 'Comedy Direction' to the show, and the extras conclude with a truly cornball commercial for Joy dishwashing detergent, set in the Petrie household's kitchen.

Disc Two gives us an audio commentary for the episode A Bird in the Head Hurts, from Rose Marie, Larry Mathews and Ann Morgan Guilbert. This commentary is pretty missable - it's about the most boring in the set, full of long pauses and very dull memories.

Carl Reiner then pops up on video to remember the A Bird in the Head Hurts episode, and then, in another video clip, Carl gives a short remembrance of how he would have Dick Van Dyke sneeze in innumerable ways... one time, at a cast meeting, he watched as Dick, on request, "sneezed, coughed, belched and passed wind" ...all at the same time. What a talent!

Then there's a short video while cast members reminisce about actor/director Jerry Paris, and then we see Jane Wyatt give the 1963-64 Emmy Award for 'Writing' to The Dick Van Dyke Show, and David Jannsen announce Jerry Paris as Emmy Award winner for 'Comedy Direction'.

And if you search long and hard, this disc carries the set's Easter Egg -- an advertisement for Kent Cigarettes which have Dick and Laura puffing away and questioning what is best -- sex or ciggies. Well, the question isn't quite that direct, but the inference is there. Find the Easter Egg by watching Carl Reiner's video remembrance of the episode, then flicking over to the Chapter Selection menu for 'A Bird In the Head Hurts'. Highlight Chapter One with a deft twist to the left with your remote controller. Notice how Dick's head, to the right of the screen, suddenly gains an illuminated halo. Select that, press enter, and away you go.

The disc wraps up with a Joy dishwashing commercial.

Disc Three carries only the Meet the Cast talent files. But we get back in the swing with Disc Four, which kicks off with the cast of The Beverly Hillbillies presenting the Emmy Award for 1962-63 to Carl Reiner for 'Highest Achievement in Comedy Writing'.

This disc also carries a short Making Of documentary about the classic fantasy episode It May Look Like a Walnut, in which Carl Reiner sends Dick Van Dyke into a world drawn from The Twilight Zone and Invasion of the Body Snatchers, where strange creatures who look exactly like walnuts threaten to steal his thumbs and his imagination.

Finally, Disc Five brings us yet another audio commentary, this time for the episode All About Eavesdropping. with Rose Marie, Larry Mathews and Ann Morgan Guilbert. I don't know if other people will agree, but I find these audio commentaries are dead boring unless enlivened by great insights or devastating wit. This one has neither.

We then have another Dedication with Love, to three programme creators who have died before this DVD package was prepared: producer and director Sheldon Leonard, executive producer (the man with the money) Danny Thomas, himself a great comedian, and cast member Morey Amsterdam. Just a single text page, but obviously deeply felt.

Then there's an Emmy Awards presentation by Carol Burnett to John Rich for 'Best Comedy Director', and then Fred MacMurray awards the show with the Emmy Award for 'Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Humour' (or Humor, as Webster would say).

Next up is a video clip when cast members remember how the catchphrase "Oh, Rob!" was built into the show for Mary Tyler Moore to say in 1000 different ways.

And there's a complete episode of a 1960s show, Stump the Stars, which I don't think ever saw the light of day Down Under. This was a celebrity charades programme, which saw in this episode Dick, Mary, Rose Marie and Morey pitted against actors Sebastian Cabot, Beverley Garland, Diana Dors and Ross Martin. Diana Dors protests she's not really bright enough to compete in this arena. She then proceeds to wipe the floor with all of them. Big bazoomas, and super-intelligent too - what a combination!

Finally, there's a future series teaser, which advertises that if you keep tuning in, there's going to be a four-parter which traces Dick and Mary's meeting, proposal, marriage and birth of son. That's for the next set. Much as I enjoy this series, I'm not too upset about missing those...

  Overall  
Contract

If you have the first series, go ahead and get this set as well - it's sharper-focused and better directed, and really hitting its stride. Or rent it for four or five weeks, it'll take that long to progress through it at a rate which will provide entertainment and maintain your sanity at the same time.


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      And I quote...
    "In its second season, The Dick Van Dyke Show just went on to prove itself one of the best 'reality' sitcoms ever - until a certain Jerry Seinfeld burst onto the scene more than 30 years later!"
    - Anthony Clarke
      Review Equipment
    • DVD Player:
          Panasonic A330
    • TV:
          Loewe Profil Plus 3272 68cm
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